31/05/2013

Wales' Measles Epidemic 'Is Slowing Down'

Medics in Swansea have said the measles epidemic in the town is now slowing.

However, they added that there are still too many young people not protected against the disease.

According to Public Health Wales (PHW), six new cases have been reported since Tuesday, taking the number of cases in the outbreak to 1,158 since November.

More than 60,000 vaccinations have been given in total aimed at reducing the length and severity of the outbreak in the Swansea and Powys areas. Despite this, PHW said a significant number of young people between the ages of 10 and 18 still had not had the vaccine.

Health protection director Dr Marion Lyons said: "The outbreak centred on Swansea has slowed significantly, but parents should not believe this is the last we will see of measles in Wales if large numbers remain unvaccinated.

"This outbreak has shown us how quickly measles can spread between people who are not vaccinated and how serious an infection it can be.

"While we have tens of thousands of people between 10 and 18 not vaccinated, who continue to mix with one another at school and at social events, we can't rule out another large outbreak in the coming months or years."

GP surgeries are continuing to give the MMR vaccine to people who need a first or top-up dose.

In 2011, there were only 19 cases of measles in Wales.

(JP)

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